"We have a more sure word of prophecy, whereunto ye do well that ye take heed in your hearts, as unto a light that shineth in the dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise." 2 Peter 1: 19.
PETER declares: "We have not followed cunningly-devised fables." The word"fable" has the ordinary meaning that is put into the English word "myth." Christian Truth does not stand upon myth. So far from following cunningly-devised myths, says the Apostle, we have been the people of a manifestation of His Glory--because the heart of the Christian Faith has not, in the first place, anything to do with principles. The heart of the Christian Faith is a Person. We are not brought to love Jesus because we love Truth. We are brought to love Him, and the more we love Him, the more we love Truth.
It is a distinction with a very marked difference. The Christian Faith is, right at its heart, attachment and devotion to a Person. "We love Him because He first loved us." The very love that we have for Him, is the echo of the love that He has for us. We have not followed cunningly-devised myths, for we have been brought to devotion to a Person. " Eye-witnesses," says the Apostle, " were we of His Glory." They saw Him on the Mount of Transfiguration. Not only eye-witnesses, but ear-witnesses. " We heard a voice from heaven, saying, 'This is My Beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased."
So here is the basis of the Christian Truth in history: the Christian Truth incarnated in a Person. " And having that," says the Apostle, " we have the more sure word." You cannot always believe your ears; there is something stronger than the ear or the eye, more certain than even history, and that is prophecy. " The more sure word of prophecy." And you do well " says the Apostle, " to take heed to it in your heart, as unto a lamp." A torch (that is the real word) a torch that shines in the squalid gloom.
The darkness in which the world is at this moment is obvious; it is an increasing black-out. And do not let us be led astray to tell the world that it is going to get out of it; it is not This is no time within the Word of God for soft, easy words for the world. Let us at least be loyal to the truth that God has given. This is no time to tell the world that the darkness is passing. It is an increasing black-out, but in the black-out, God has ordained, for the believer, a torch. And He is saying as clearly as He can, now to every child of God: "You are in the black-out. You may either see your way by the torch of prophecy or else you must stumble in the darkness with the world."
Every child of God now must choose. God is insisting that you either must come down from the proud pedestal and take this torch of prophecy or plunge with the world into the black-out. You will stumble, you will knock up against this and that in the darkness, you will not know where you are, just like the worldling, unless you take the more sure word of prophecy.
And, of course, that is now being worked out exactly in every believer's experience.
Prophecy, I suppose, is that part of Divine Truth which has been most discounted. People, even Christians, say of course, I have nothing to do with prophecy, I can't stand this date business. It has been proved so frequently to be wrong." Quite, but you must be careful that you keep to the original position. You come to the Lord's Table, but you would not turn your back on the Table because of all the monstrosities with which Rome has surrounded it. The Romanists says that God is there in the bread to be worshipped, but that extreme teaching does not justify our turning from the Table.
I am a Baptist, but because a person says a child once sprinkled has become, by those drops of water, a child of God, I am not going to turn my back on Baptism according to the Scriptures.
There are people who misinterpret prophecy, but it does not touch the truth of prophecy itself. It is wonderful how the Churches today open their arms to almost any "ism." In the Anglican Church a man can preach in contradiction to the Prayer Book and still be suffered; or in Non-Trust Deeds and no Trustee arouse himself to speak about it. That is getting "broadminded" and we have an idea that when a man gets broadminded he becomes very useful to God. But popularity with men does not necessarily mean acceptance with God.
The result is that we have now come to the black-out. Years ago we blew out the light of prophecy, and today we are without a message for the world. What message is going to the world today? So far as I know no message. We blew out the light, and God said: "Very well, into the darkness you shall be plunged, with the world." It does not require anybody of deep insight to observe that in this black-out of the world today, the Churches of this country as a whole have no message whatsoever. No light!
Why nearly every letter that I get from people who are away, tells me that they go wandering about trying to find a place where they can get the Word of God. I find that is not an experience merely of our own people. I was listening to a number of ministers the other day. Their own evacuees are going about seeking the Word of God on Sundays and they cannot find it.
For the unbeliever let us clearly understand from the Word of God there is to be no lifting of the darkness. But for the child of God, God says there shall be a light. God puts into your hands as a child of God, the lamp of prophecy. He invites you to take it. It is not optional--it is essential. If you are going to have light on your own path, and if you are to have a gle
Now, "no Word of God is of private interpretation." That is to say, nothing in the Scriptures is the result of a man's own opinion or personal judgment. The Word of God is not the fruit of man's personal opinion, but "holy men of God were moved by the Spirit of God." And, therefore in prophecy you have God speaking out His mind and throwing the light upon the path for man.
One of the most dangerous men today is the man who, standing in the place where he should be speaking for God, is speaking out what he thinks.
A minister in London last Sunday morning, had been to the theatre the previous night and seen a very interesting play. He came to his people and told them all about the play that he had seen on the Saturday evening and drew one or two moral lessons from it! Yet he professes to be an ambassador of Jesus Christ.
Oh no we are not here, and the Church is not here to give to the world what it thinks. The church is here that it may receive the voice of God as revealed in the prophetic word, for a light on its own path, and so to give a light to the world.
Of course the world is in darkness, and to that extent, the believer has got to share the darkness with it-- he cannot help it. He must share its sorrows; but then with a torch in his hand he is a man that can see his way in the darkness. And what is before him? Well he is waiting for the day to dawn and he knows that when the day dawns the "Light-bearer shall arise.
Why is the world dark? Well, if it were possible for somebody to mount up by aeroplane, or otherwise, to the region of the sun, and to spray something upon it and put out its light and heat, then we should know why the world was in darkness--through the fault of those who blotted out the sun. And the world is in darkness because it has rejected Jesus Christ. Men have plunged the world into darkness by the rejection of God's Son, Who is the Light of the World. And because He is the Light of the World there will never be any day until He arises.
Now, in the meantime, every child of God is to use the torch.
What is prophecy? Well, prophecy really is the meditation upon and the believing of the promises of God. Prophecy begins as a reality when I recognise that God has given me promises and that I am to walk, by faith in those promises, in the God Who makes them. I am to walk by faith and not by sight. That has ever been the characteristic of all God's people. From the very moment when the woman sinned, God said: "'The Seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head." There was the prophecy. The woman Eve herself believed it. Right from the times of Enoch, who walked with God, right through to Noah It was believed; right through to Sarah, to David, it was believed.
In this very chapter we are told: "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that through these we might become partakers of the Divine Nature." That is one of the most profound revelations in the Word of God. Think of it! "Partakers of the Divine Nature." As I see the promises of God and believe them --that is the torch; when I see in the Word of God what God has committed to me by promise, and I begin to walk in His promises, I see the light. It is prophecy that opens up the word of Truth and gives it light.
So far as I can see if there is nothing in prophecy, then (except for one or two ethical verses) Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel and all the Minor Prophets might just as well never be printed again. And, for that matter, the Pentateuch too, except that it is an historic document of interest and antiquity.
And yet, when I come to look into the Word of God, I see how foolish I should be if I were to take that attitude. Those two on the road to Emmaus were bowed down with anxiety because of the terrible thing that had happened-Jesus had been crucified. But immediately our Lord drew near He became a Prophetic Teacher. "Ought not these things to be? " "And beginning at Moses, and out of all the prophets, He expounded unto them the things (the prophecies) concerning Himself." And when those two men on the road to Emmaus got the Prophetic outlook on life, they said: " Did not our hearts burn within us as He talked with us by the way?" When I come to the Day of Pentecost and Peter is anxious to set forth the Cross of Jesus Christ, how does he set it forth ? As the fulfilment of the prophecy of the Old Testament (the Cross of Jesus Christ anticipated in prophecy) and three thousand were converted.
I come along again and I see the Eunuch in the desert, and he is reading from Isaiah 53. And he says to Philip: "Of Whom speakest the Prophet ? of Himself or of some other ? " And then, beginning at the same Scripture, Philip preached unto him Jesus-the Fulfilment of that prophecy. And immediately he preached Jesus as the fulfilment of prophecy, the light came to the Eunuch.
And Calvary today, along with prophecy, is still the power. At the heart of the prophetic message of the Cross is the truth that when a man is saved he is brought into fellowship with the Life of Jesus Christ and is being prepared for God's Eternal purpose throughout the ages. That understood and believed, he sees something of personal redemption in the light of prophecy, in the Word of God and in the Power of the Spirit and he knows something of what God is offering to him in the light of prophetic exposition.
Prophecy brings us to our knees. As those seventy years of desolation for Jerusalem were drawing to their close, Daniel was reading the book of the prophet Jeremiah: "Seventy years are determined for the desolation of Jerusalem." He saw from that promise so clearly given that the time of exile was drawing to an end. We do not know how long he had had the book of Jeremiah and not seen that before, but he saw it then, and from the moment that he saw it he began to pray. He knew the reason for his country's desolation was its sin, and he went to God; and he was brought right down to his knees confessing his nation's sins. Then he went to God, pleading with Him for the fulfilment of His purposes. The praying that counts with God is the prayer that is taught by prophecy--when you begin to be taught by God as to what is God's Will and you begin to pray in the light of that Will.
"Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I am about to do?" God showed to Abraham that the judgment of Sodom was impending. And what does Abraham do? Immediately God reveals prophetically what He is going to do in Sodom, Abraham is brought to prayer.
Do we find our Prayer Meetings in our churches sapped today? Do we find our own praying very weak? Do you find that it is difficult and hard to pray? It will not be so hard the moment we begin to pray in line with God's purpose. We need the prophetic view, as God reveals what His mind and will is. God wants the intercessor-a man who, because he sees what God is pledged to do, becomes an intercessor in that issue, one through whose prayers God can work to the accomplishment of His Will.
No man who reads the prophecies and believes them, will be able to keep off his knees. Do you suppose that in a dark hour like this, God is hiding away in heaven without any thought for the world? Do you suppose His arms are folded and He does not know what to make of all this terrible business ? Do you suppose He is in a kind of panic? Of course He is not.
God sees beforehand, and God has spoken. And God wants--what? He wants common men and women to begin to read His Word, to see His promises. He wants you to begin to read your Bible, your New Testament even, marking out the promises of God, the things that God has revealed and promised. Begin to work them out. Begin to see something of what God intends for you, what is God's mind and will. Then begin to pray in relation to those promises, asking God to fulfil them, to make them glorious in your own experience, to form them through your prayers, and to achieve them, and you will find, like those on the road to Emmaus, your heart will begin to burn. Like Daniel, you will come to your knees, and you will have a light that shines in the darkness.
And if we do not, the black-out will remain You will have no light for yourself and no light for the world. The world today wants to know where God is in modern issues. If you do not believe the prophetic Word there is no convincing answer. But if you have got the light of prophecy, there is an answer. You can say: " This darkness that is upon the world is because of the rejection of God's Son, but the day-dawn is coming, and the Light-bearer shall arise, and the Glory of God in Jesus shall cover the earth, as the waters cover the sea.
Mind you walk as those who in the darkness have the light! We are in the black-out, but with the prophetic Word in our hearts we have both light and hope.
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